The winter of 2015 was Boston’s snowiest on record. From late January until early March, we had 108.6 inches of the white stuff fall from the sky and blanket all corners of our landscape. The snow was incredibly deep everywhere…roadways, walkways, driveways, and pathways, curtailing most (sometimes all) forms of transportation. It also consumed our lives, which came to a near standstill for those debilitating 6 weeks as the snow became our daily focus of attention…and obsession.
When I finally got someone to help me shovel about 4-6 feet that had accumulated on our roof, it took a strapping young 25 year old (and me!) the better part of a day to clear just the back of the house. We struggled to make our way from the driveway to the side of the house where we could place the ladder, inching our way through waist high snow one laborious step at a time. We chopped ice dams, raked high points, and hand shoveled the rest. The piles below were ginormous, and we worried further about the net negative impact on our home. With little sunshine and very few above freezing temperatures, it took forever to melt. Today we’re getting insurance estimates and contractors to repair the damages inside and out…it’s been quite the ordeal.
What’s interesting about the depth of this year’s snow is that it became deeper and deeper because of accumulation. And, the more it piled up the deeper it became and the greater the distraction it created for most aspects of our lives.
So it is in our world today: depth is encouraged by the pursuit of accumulation of “more, more, more” as the ongoing goal. It’s also become true in the church world. We’ve succumbed to the belief that the more people we serve, the more programs we sponsor, the more dollars we raise, the more hours we labor, and the more buildings we erect, the greater our chances of success. Deeper pockets occur by accumulation; and accumulation of wealth (in any form) is what tends to create the most distraction. The end result: the more the distractions, the greater the distance we experience with God.
Therefore, we need to look carefully at the term “the deeper life” and define it biblically. Depth of soul, or the deeper life, has nothing to do with accumulation of the tangible. Instead, it has everything to do with simplifying our lives down to the “one thing” that matters most, which is the intangible affection we have for God and God alone. If you continue to pursue more and more accolades, accomplishments, achievements and the accumulation that follows, you will not experience the deeper life. If God chooses to encourage you with any form of tangible blessing, that’s his choice and not of your making.
When Jesus walked planet earth he had his followers and his detractors. Those who chose to listen, obey and submit to his love and leadership entered the inner circle of intimacy with Christ. In that inner circle they were taught to love with their whole heart, die to their false selves, and release the ways of this world that hinder complete access to the love of God. In other words, they were wholeheartedly urged to walk away from worldly aspirations for accumulation and embrace instead a Kingdom mindset focused on sweet surrender to the extravagant love of God.
The deeper life is what we’re asked to consider each time Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God. And the deeper we go with God the deeper we enter into the geography of the soul via hiddenness, humility, submission and wholeness. These places are activated by a longing for more of God’s empowering presence, more of the spiritual practices that lead us into a life of prayer, more of the Sabbath rest he commands, and more of the fulfillment of our God-ordained purpose for which we’ve been placed on this earth to fulfill. What is your response today? Will you reconsider a life of accumulation and distraction, and instead pursue a life of intimacy, love, and the delightful inheritance that awaits you now and forever?
Behold the deeper life Jesus lived with every breath he took and every word he spoke, and believe once more that what he asked of his disciples then he requires of us today. Belong to the inner circle community of the faithful ones and become a Christ-follower who is willing to abandon the pursuit of accumulation and embrace instead the one thing that matters most to your soul and the Kingdom of God.